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20121202
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. like the crew of apollo 8, who took this picture commonly known as "earth rise" from the window of the craft as they orbited the moon in 1968. unfortunately, nearly half the earth was in shadow. an unmanned soviet spacecraft called zond 7 got this shot during a lunar fly-by. i guess you would call that a gibbous earth. fully lit by the sun. it is probably a shot you have seen so often you don't think how amazing it is. it was nicknamed the blue marble and it was taken by one of the astronauts on board, apollo 17. apollo 17 launched 40 years ago today, december 17, 1972. it was a night launch, aiming for the littoral valley. gene cernan, harrison jack schmitt and ron evans aboard. apollo 17 launched at night, and when they landed three days later, the sun was behind them. and so that particular launch trajectory put a fully formed beautifully lit earth in the window of the command module at a time when the astronauts really should have been too busy to look at it. here is how al reinert, who co-wrote the movie "apollo 13" describes what happened. quote, at five hours and a few mi
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